Mark Messersmith: Scenic Delusions of Ordinary Disappointments
April 16 – July 10, 2011
As an associate professor of painting at Florida State University, Messersmith’s work closely illustrates the theme of conservation and over-development in Northern Florida, and its effects on the indigenous wildlife. Featuring dioramas of bright colors, density and collages layered with photographs, drawings, paintings and self-made or found objects, this exhibition will include nine of Messersmith’s highly-regarded, large-scale, multi media paintings, many of which are over 80 inches in height.
Much of Messersmith’s inspiration derives from the plight of the Southern American terrain during the sweeping urban industrialization and Northern migration during the 1970s and 80s. Paying homage to Martin Johnson Heade, George Inness, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer and other influential artists during that period, Messersmith’s collection vividly captures the destruction to Florida’s natural environment.
“For a number of years, I have had an interest in reaching back to reconnect with an artistic continuum or lineage of American landscape painting, from the late nineteenth century, focusing on a group of painters who came from the Northeastern United States immediately following the Civil War,” said Messersmith. “My paintings build on stories, along with my own observations of, and concerns for, all the creatures that move within the shrinking environs they inhabit.”
Although his pieces evoke a contemporary narrative, Messersmith incorporates artistic elements from widely diverse sources such as medieval altarpieces, 19th century romantic landscape painting and contemporary folk art help to shape his technique and bring his masterpieces to life.
Mark Messersmith: Scenic Delusions of Ordinary Disappointments is organized by AMSET and funded in part by the C. Homer and Edith Fuller Chambers Charitable Foundation, Helen Caldwell Locke and Curtis Blakey Locke Charitable Foundation, City of Beaumont, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.